DENVER (CBS4)– There have been calls for changes to security at the state Capitol since protests turned violent in downtown Denver last summer. Now, the FBI alerted authorities across the country of groups are calling for the “storming” of courthouses in all 50 states if the president is removed from office before Inauguration Day.
The Colorado State Patrol handles security at the state Capitol. Lawmakers are confident they have a plan in place for any potential safety concerns in the coming weeks.
“I’ve always felt safe in that building,” said State Rep. Susan Lontine. “They reach out to us all the time, they communicate well with all of us, they’ve done a really good job of protecting the inside of the building. I know it was tough to see the vandalism the outside of the building had over the summer with protests, but as far as my personal safety, I feel safe. I want to reassure people that they do a great job.”
Lontine is chair of the Capitol Building advisory committee. Earlier this year, CSP came to them to present possible changes to security.
“We agreed to move the proposal forward, and referred changes to the Capitol Development Committee, who holds the purse strings, and the Executive Committee, which is made up of leadership of both chambers,” Lontine said.
The almost $10 million proposal hasn’t been formally approved, but includes the possibility of a fence around the Capitol and Lincoln Park. Lontine says talks of possible security changes have been in the works for months.
“I’m not sure when that could happen for Lincoln Park, they could start that at any time if they wanted to, but you won’t see a fence built around the Capitol building until after the legislature has adjourned for the year,” Lontine said.
Last summer, one state lawmaker was narrowly missed by a bullet that instead pierced a window at the state Capitol.
Colorado State Patrol says they are aware of the planned protests leading up to Inauguration Day. The CSP released this statement on Monday afternoon:
The Colorado State Patrol is responsible for the protection of the Colorado State Capitol. We have been monitoring events on the national level and will continue to monitor for possible events in Colorado. We support all those who plan to peaceably assemble in order to exercise their first amendment rights. Our agency is prepared for this potential activity and emphasizes the importance of a peaceful approach that allows for safe public discourse for all. Due to security reasons, we do not discuss our staffing or our measures in place.
Gov. Jared Polis’ Office released this statement to CBS4 on state Capitol security, “We are monitoring the security situation and support all of those who plan to peacefully assemble and exercise their first amendment rights. Should things turn violent and unlawful like they did during the failed insurrection our country witnessed in Washington, D.C. last week then we will examine every option to ensure people are safe. In Colorado, we reject seditious and violent acts designed to bring down our republic and undermine the Constitution and the rule of law.”